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robertogreco : horseracing   1

Bat, Bean, Beam: Old games
"Amongst the things that I salvaged from the house in which I grew up were four supermarket bags full of Lego. I found the stuff over a number of trips, each time marvelling at how much of it there was. As well as being practically indestructible (the only pieces of ours that ever broke were two of the large thin bases), Lego has fared remarkably well in terms of both its exchange and use value over the last half century. We had all sorts of trouble – and ultimately failed – in finding a good home to a very good library. We literally couldn’t give away the stuff, which was a source of some heartache. But Lego, it might as well be a global currency, or a precious ore. It keeps going up in price. It’s worth shipping around the world. There’s always a use for it, even in small quantities.

The last find involved one of Lego’s early electric engines, which was used to power a train’s locomotor. I vaguely remember playing with this set. Not much you could do with it, as the carriages came pretty much assembled whole. But the rest of those bags contain mostly the standard universal pieces with which I used to build houses and robots and once, I think, a football stadium. It’s a rather sharp lesson in informational entropy now. Four plastic bags’ worth of chaos."



"Totòpoli is a bafflingly elaborate horse-racing board game in two parts. First, the players lease and train the horses, as well as acquire facilities like foraging merchants and veterinary practices. This is not too dissimilar from Monopoly, and results in the accumulation of advantage and disadvantage cards, as well as special cards to forestall certain events, except instead of getting out of jail is preventing your top horse from bursting a blood vessel on the home straight. Then, once the training is completed, the board is flipped over and the race can begin. However even that phase comprises two quite different activities: the taking of bets on the outcome, with what money you have left over from part one, and the race itself. As the rulebook explains:
The winner can either be the one with the most money at the end of the race, or the one with the winning horse. This should be decided at the beginning of the race.


You’d hate to play for three solid hours and be left unsure as to who won.

Totòpoli was a lot of fun. But I rescued form the home some things that I don’t recall playing with, and probably belonged to my sister. A rather exquisite medical set, all in plastic but very detailed and missing remarkably few pieces, given how the small parts in today’s equivalents seem to explode out of the packaging and immediately get lost whenever my children are involved. I wonder if this is a function of the relative scarcity of those years."
games  boardgames  play  giovannitiso  2013  lego  gamedesign  horses  horseracing  childhood  scarcity 
june 2013 by robertogreco

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